Archive | December 2013

The Last Dance

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God’s Thoughts to Me

Today, when you hear His voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled (Hebrews 3:15 , NLT).

Introduction

imageToday I have the honor of introducing a dear friend, Rachel Haas. My heart sings to the same tune as hers.

Rachel is the most talented writer I have met in a long time and I wish my introduction could have been accompanied by a drum roll.

Rachel’s blog is the only one my husband follows faithfully. Thank you, Rachel for trusting me with your words and all your patience. You are a special lady.

To visit her, just click on her photo. Over to you, Rachel …

My Bleeding Heart

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I grew up in the right places. I grew up a good Christian girl, the right kind of person with the right kind of friends.

I had a WWJD bracelet and I knew every step to the dance of Christianity.

I was one of “those people,” the kind that got saved before she started kindergarten, who never drank or smoke or partied.

I was a good girl.

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That is, until I started asking questions.

I had no idea what lay on the other side of that door. None. I had never dared even peek outside. They said there was fire and brimstone on the other side.

There were questions there, the kind that belied faith and stripped away the supposed surety I had in the parroted Christianity that I had been embracing since my four-year old lips had formed the Sinner’s Prayer.

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They didn’t realize that I was already asking questions.

They expected me to walk on water.

They placed emulating their picture of Jesus on a pedestal, gesturing grandly in the direction of their Jesus-shaped golden calf.

I had two choices: bow down and embrace the floor, where I belonged or turn around and walk out the door.

And so I stood up, dropped the facade, took my husband’s hand, and together we walked out the door.

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That was step one. It would be another two years before I even considered taking another step. That first motion of foot in front of foot had been frightening enough.

I had thoughts, a whirlwind of questions that churned inside me, but I had no idea what to do with them. So I wrote them down.

Privately, of course, never even dreaming of voicing them where anyone else might happen to catch a glimpse of my tumult. I mentioned it to this friend, or that, and the responses were always the same: be careful. You know better.

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And maybe I did know better. But that wasn’t exactly going to stop me.

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I stopped seeing the sanitized Jesus after that. I’m not sure when it happened, but something had started to break inside me.

There was a damn with water churning and frothing behind it, waiting for the moment when I would pull out my finger and let the levy break.

I had to drown.

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And I had to be the one who said yes.

I went under the water, hair tangled and mud on my feet. I came up drenched and messy. I found myself blinking in a new Light. I discovered a new kind of faith, almost the opposite of what I had been taught growing up.

There was nothing tidy about this Jesus. He was dirty and bloody and human, Word made flesh. I started seeing myself in a new way.

Yes, I have walked away from the name “Christian.” I can’t stomach the taste in my mouth right now. But that’s all it is: a name. Jesus is not defined by the name His children are called by others.

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I am the boy Shasta whispering in the darkness to the Thing unseen, “who are You?”

And the gentle roaring comes back, a whisper on the breeze, a sacred breathing on my face.

“Myself.”

Rachel

P.S. Thank you so much, dear Rachel, for allowing us to accompany you for a while on your walk with Jesus.

Thank you to everyone who supported and encouraged me this year and I wish you all a great New Year filled chok-a-blog with Jesus. Thanks for blessing me with  the honor of having you as guests at my blog. You are all so precious and loved.

Sweet blessings xx

Mia

Linking-up with the ladies at my Tea Time and Link-Up page.

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Boys and Their Toys

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God’s Thoughts to Me

My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction (Proverbs 1:8, NLT).

To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction (Proverbs 12:1).

Introduction

imageToday I am honored again by a special friend, Floyd Samons, who  is sharing dearly acquired wisdom from the school of life.

Floyd, thank you for all your support this year, helping me to keep my blog going when I was to ill to write. You are truly a brother of my heart.

Floyd blogs at The Regoi and I can assure you that his place is a treasure chest of wisdom and just plain good old common sense. To visit him, just click on his photo. Over to you:

Gifts from Christmas Passed

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As another Christmas rolls around I, like everyone else, remember the ones from my past and especially the ones from my childhood.

I remember the presents, the food, the gratified looks on my parents faces regardless how lean the year, and the words at Christmas.

I recall the old black Bible with spider web cracks in the leather from use and age that my dad opened to Luke and read from every year before any of us impatient kids could yank a bow or rip a wrapper.

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They were the words of God offered by my dad’s gentle voice. I fall into thoughts and lessons from just one of many I got from the man I miss dearly and  remember with honor at Christmas.

Money was burning a hole in my pocket, but it was my money to burn, or so I thought.

“Me and Steve want to buy a boat,” I announced to my dad.

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“A boat?”

“Yeah, like a canoe only better, we can fish and stuff,” I explained.

“How you gonna get it to the lake?” my dad asked casually.

“Steve’s dad will take us out there,” I answered, trying to hide my disappointment in his lack of enthusiasm.

“I don’t know if that’s such a good idea, son?” he answered and I knew was the beginning of a long way around the bend where we would eventually arrive at “no.”

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As a last resort I threw out the desperation declaration, “It’s my money!” My dad took it in stride and while I can’t recall his exact words, I do recall they had something to do with it indeed being my money.

Yet, it was his responsibility to not let me blow it or do something that didn’t make good sense… Like buying a boat twenty miles from the lake as a freshman in high school with a football buddy as my partner…

The four hundred bucks that I’d worked for was safe and out of my complete control as I poured sweat and some blood into construction jobs in Arizona.

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For the next two simmering summers I saved my money for the best thing ever in the history of the whole wide world, even better than all the Christmas gifts combined; my first car.

Add that first muscle car and the freedom that comes with it to the sweet taste of gratification that comes from earning something at great sacrifice, and a kid has the ingredients and discipline that they can use for the rest of their lives…

How does a person learn self discipline and self control if they haven’t been taught how it works? How does a person learn self respect if they don’t learn how to respect others?

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I remember being so angry with my dad that my throat ached… Here’s the kicker; I knew he was right.  Even at the time of indiscreet ignorance, I knew it was, but I didn’t care about tomorrow… I wanted to live for that day.

His lesson taught me that waiting and using discipline returned dividends that taste much sweeter than quick fixes for a greedy and impatient flesh.

The lust of our flesh can’t ever truly be satisfied without wisdom from our heavenly Father to keep in check.

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For now, only God knows which of us was more proud the day my dad drove my car for the first time with me riding shotgun…

Funny thing about wise people, they never have to say things like, “I told you so.” They say things like, “This is a nice car, son… I sure am proud of you…”

Wishing you and yours the best gifts and treasures this Christmas season, the kind that can’t be calculated by a number, the kinds that are stored in our minds, hearts, and eternal souls.

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Merry Christmas, God bless you.

Floyd

P.s. Thanks again, Floyd, you are a dear precious friend!

Sweet blessings xx

Mia

I am linking-up with the ladies at my Tea Time and Link-Up page.

Tribute to Madiba

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God’s Thoughts to Me

The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against His anointed One.

“Let us break their chains,” they cry, “and free ourselves from slavery to God.”
(Psalm 2:1-3, NLT)

Two Humble Men

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My country is in mourning. Thursday evening at 21:50, Tata Madiba has gone to be with His Lord! Tata, we are going to miss you! Now you know true freedom!

I wrote this post at the time when the South African Reserve Bank introduced our new set of banknotes nearly a year ago to honor this great man of boundless integrity.

I offer this post as a tribute to Madiba who lived humility, love, forgiveness and servanthood for he was a leader who always descended to the level of the person he served. He was a leader who washed the feet of his country:

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This week our beautiful rainbow nation, South Africa, was blessed by the South African Reserve Bank with a new set of banknotes.

On the one side it bears the renowned image of President Nelson Mandela and the other side, South Africa’s famous Big Five: the lion, elephant, rhinoceros, leopard and the buffalo.

My husband had the privilege of visiting Madiba twice at his modest home in the small Transkei village, Qunu, on provincial government meetings.

Tata Madiba's Qunu Residence

Tata Madiba’s Qunu Residence

He was overwhelmed by this gentle man who was truly larger than life. Mr Mandela was a humble man who taught South Africa the blessedness of forgiveness and he lived the truth of considering others as more important than himself.

Being the chief of his Xhosa clan, the villagers visited him often to ask him to settle disputes amongst them as was their custom.

To show their gratitude and respect, these humble, poor folk would bless him with a chicken or a goat. He received their gifts with heartfelt thankfulness.

Traditional Xhosa Women Dancing

Traditional Xhosa Women Dancing

On a state visit to England, Madiba was the guest of Queen Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, at Buckingham Palace where he surprised the palace household staff by making his own bed in the mornings.

When told that there was enough palace staff to do these menial tasks, he replied that it was an old Robben Island habit he had not been able to unlearn yet.

Madiba was one of only two people that did not address the Queen as “Her Majesty”, but called her by her first name and got away with it! The other one, her husband, of course!

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I was always impressed by how this famous and great statesman always preferred to write with and sign documents with the cheapest pen we have in South Africa, a Bic pen.

A Jewish boy once personally delivered an invitation to Mr Mandela at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, to attend his Bar-Mitzvah.

Although Madiba did not know this young man from a bar of soap, he graciously accepted and attended the celebrations.

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During his term as the President of our country, he once queried a higher amount of money on his pay slip.When told it was his annual salary increase, he told his staff that he did not need more money for he lacked nothing.

That increase birthed the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. I am delighted that this fund is currently building the Nelson Mandela Children’s hospital.

One of his prison wardens during his imprisonment on Robben Island once told the story of how they all went together to church on Sundays for there was only this one small chapel on the island. They kneeled together and prayed together.

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After his release, they stayed friends. Years later, when the warden passed away, Madiba personally went to Cape Town to attend the funeral and console the widow.

Men of his stature and integrity are few and far between and very hard to find amongst politicians and Heads-of-State. His love for his country and all South Africans went way beyond any racial issues.

It saddens me to see the once beautiful dream South Africans had for a new South Africa now lying scattered amongst the reality of political unrest, violent crime and strikes, vandalism, murder, rape, domestic violence and drug abuse.

Robben Island

Robben Island

I hope that the Mandela family hid this sad state of affairs from Madiba as far as possible while he was an old and frail man. Yet, his lion heart could never be contained through old age.

G.K. Chesterton, an English writer, once remarked,”Once abolish the God and the government becomes god.” Wise words, for man was never created with the ability to govern himself or function independently from our Pappa.

Man was created as a finite spiritual being who derives his spiritual nature either from our Lord Jesus or the prince of the world; that greedy power-hungry destroyer of humanity.

He is the father of all systems and structures where power is abused, whether it be political, economical, social or religious.

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He deceives the power-hungry humanity into accepting a couterfeit security, for most people do not truly know that their Pappa loves them passionately.

Yet, Madiba was a man who was locked-up in prison for nearly a third of his life on earth. He came out and showed forgiveness in stark contrast with most of the power-hungry leaders of our continent.

What saddens me even more is the hurt and sorrow humans cause their Heavenly Father by paying allegiance to the father of all lies.

Madiba and Francois Pienaar in 1997 when South Africa won the Rugby World Cup

Madiba and Francois Pienaar in 1997 when South Africa won the Rugby World Cup

Not only do they destroy themselves, but also the beautiful creation He prepared as a gift for the crown of His creation, man! We are mostly ignorant of our folly.

Yet, He still became human just like us, He humbled Himself and paid the price for our freedom from our slavery to that cruel slave master.

In following in his Master’s footsteps, Nelson Mandela, reflected this true Picture  of humility.

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Madiba as Prisoner on Robben Island

I wish we could, like the Mandela family, hide man’s foul revolt from our Pappa to save Him all that anguish, heartache and sorrow!

Much love and sweet blessings xx

Mia

This is an edited repost.